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Sunday Rockpile: Rockies finally starting to roll in nick of time, the schedule's getting very rough

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Storm's a comin, Cap'n

By completing a sweep of the Brewers today, the Rockies can hit the five games over .500 mark for the first time in 2010. Maintaining or improving on that position through the rest of the month would indicate that the team's ahead of schedule. It's a plateau they didn't cross for good in 2009 until sweeping Washington in July, just before the All-Star break. In 2007, of course, they didn't cross it for good until September.

This task certainly will not be easy, after today's game against the Brewers concludes, the Rockies are lined up for 22 straight games against opponents with teams that currently sport better records than they do, including two series against division leading San Diego. Even the week after that stretch seems ugly, as the brutality probably extends a full 29 games through the post ASB road trip into Cincy, Florida and Philadelphia (Florida doesn't have a better record than the Rox right now, but it's obvious we shouldn't discount them). 15-14 over that span will be a success, better than that and we should be in a very solid position for another playoff run.  

Where have you gone, Carlos Gonzalez? Our lonely nation yada yada...

"Just watch him. He's exciting, he's fast, he's got a cannon for an arm. . . . He swings really hard, and a lot of times he hits it really hard."

Seth Smith on Carlos Gonzalez, as reported by Jim Armstrong

While Troy Tulowitzki's on the shelf, one player with the talent to step up into his team production leadership role would be Gonzalez:

So far in Gonzalez's absence, however, the two major players to step up over the last two games have been Brad Hawpe and Gonzalez's childhood friend, Jonathan Herrera. Infield depth really is nice to have. So nice, in fact, that we can avoid taking stuff like this seriously.

Meanwhile, why is it important that the Avenge Tulo tour continue? Because the vultures think they can step up in the food chain this year:

 

The natural order of things must be maintained. AVENGE TULO. COURAGE WOLF SAYS TO EAT THE GIANT BUZZARDS.


Ubaldo Jimenez continues reminding people of MLB's greats

There's quite a bit more after the jump

Jorge De La Rosa will help soon

 

As expected, that schedule puts Jorge De La Rosa in line to replace Jhoulys Chacin in the rotation rather than the struggling and lately ineffective Aaron Cook. 


W-L ERA WHIP K BB x-FIP WAR
2010 - Aaron Cook 2-4 5.15 1.60 31 33 5.02 1.0


W-L ERA WHIP K BB x-FIP WAR
2010 - Jhoulys Chacin 3-6 4.00 1.30 54 24 3.88 1.3

In order to justify this decision, Cook will really have to start picking up his game, starting today. As of late, he's been an expected winning streak killer for the Rockies: you can't go in expecting to give up five runs and still come out ahead unless there's a similarly bad opponent (whew! that's the case today!).The politics of the clubhouse and salary/option statuses involved make it very unlikely that Chacin can do much to change this course of events right now, the good news would be that either way, De La Rosa represents an upgrade.

So what about Chacin though? How does the organization feel about his future? Well, recognize that Dan O'Dowd was comparing the growing process of Chacin to Ubaldo Jimenez in this statement (to Barry Lewis of the Tulsa World) and not the stuff, but it's still indicative that we haven't seen the ceiling for Jhoulys yet:

"He has had some moments of brilliance, but there's been inconsistency. He's young and it's part of the learning process. It reminds me of watching Ubaldo when he was first up with us."

Be sure to read the rest of that interview for some encouraging feedback on Bruce Billings and Hector Gomez, while the brief mention of Casey Weathers is a bit less positive, but I wouldn't read too much into that right now. For more on Weathers, read and watch this report from three days ago, or this one from yesterday.

More stuff

I want to repeat that although Russell Wilson is continuing in two sports, it's very unlikely given the added money and risks involved that Rockies first round pick Kyle Parker will as well, despite Parker's father making a leveraged stance that "all options are on the table," including football. Thanks to MLB rules regarding two sport players, the Rockies will be able to spread Wilson's bonus over a five year period, and this will be true of Parker's bonus as well whether he decides to continue playing football or not. 

Casper Ghosts start tomorrow

There are a couple of features today on two other Rockies draft picks, Ryan Casteel and Corey Dickerson: